I’ve spent the last 27 years in Sales and Sales Management. With over a Billion dollars in personal funded production, I’ve seen and heard it all. Both the Supply and Demand sides of a business relationship require an open and honest dialogue to be successful. Unless it is a competitive bid process managed by an unbiased non stakeholder as is the case in a foreclosure auction for instance. In this scenario it is a winner take all and there is no need for a mutually beneficial relationship between bidders. However, in most business seller/buyer/referrer relationships it is absolutely necessary for a win win.
Throughout my career I have employed every marketing strategy and tactic known to man from telemarketing to outbound office calls and everything in between and continue to do so today. What I have found is when a recipient of my pitch is open minded and honest about the current state of their business, we are able to work harmoniously together to achieve our common goals. Those goals being; me selling something and them increasing their bottom line. When this open and transparent dialogue and understanding of situations is the case I can add value without immediately selling them something. Perhaps they are slow because of a market phenomenon that they simply are not aware of and I am. I inform them of the situation and suggest corrective action which not only assists in business growth for them but plants seeds for new deals for me from them later. We are both pleased with the communication and beneficial relationship as it is symbiotic and respectful of each other’s real motivation for the relationship which is selfish at the core.
Business is Business
Business is business and it is selfish at its core and needs to be. The fact is if you are not seeking to establish a relationship with a buyer/referrer for the sole purpose of selling or receiving a referral of a potential buyer then you are in the wrong occupation. The astute and experienced professionals on both sides of the supply and demand equation understand this clearly and use it to their advantage. However, as stated before they also employ the simple concept of mutually beneficial relationship building and maintenance.
When the honest and transparent business relationship is not established you will encounter erroneous objections. These erroneous objections will not only be against your communication attempts but also to your pitch if you get the chance to communicate with the decision maker. It is one of your prime directives as a sales professional to somehow establish a line of communication with the decision maker and arrange for an opportunity(s) to pitch to them. You can only do your part and if you’ve done your part correctly then success should be the result. Success defined as establishing a direct line of communication with the decision maker and an opportunity to pitch them as well.
If you’ve done your part correctly as defined by your own or your company’s own sales funnel and you still are facing stiff resistance to your establishment of a direct line of communication with the decision maker; the problem is not you or your funnel. The problem is the erroneous objections of your targeted decision maker.
I Don’t Like Peas
They are erroneous because if you’ve never even spoken with them how can they possibly have an objection to you or your product or service. It’s like when your kid says “I don’t like peas” and you say “how do you know? You’ve never tried them!” These objections can be as simple as never accepting your call on the phone or demanding to be removed from your email mailing list. Or if you do manage to get them on the phone their disposition is dismissive and even combative in some cases. These decision makers are in the wrong occupation as they are negligent in their practice. It is a proven fact that having an open dialogue and mind to new ideas, vendors, suppliers, sales reps etc. is accretive to that decision maker’s or his company’s bottom line.
It Sounds Like a Personal Problem
Typically what this phalanx of erroneous objections is caused by is either the decision maker is not properly incentivized or is unhappy with their own situation. In the first case a decision maker may for instance be someone in a company that makes buying decisions but has no incentive to buy better. They are the ones in charge of the money but not the owners of the money, so they don’t care as long as they get their paycheck. The owner of the money being spent would have a very different perspective and attitude about reviewing and comparing offerings and if were aware of the dismissive nature of the money spender would probably be very ticked off.
In the second case you may get an earful of colorful metaphors and explicatives if your targeted decision maker woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day. Or if in general their business is sucking wind and by the very act of you asking for some business or referrals it conjures up their cognitive dissonance. This can also manifest in your pipeline if a deal has come from someone who is in personal or business distress as they will be the loudest voice demanding their deal exit the pipeline successfully NOW! Most likely it has nothing to do with the end user client but rather the referral agent or brokers own personal financial needs at the moment (this is a typical scenario in the mortgage business). However, it can and does occur in many pipeline driven businesses.
In conclusion always keep in mind you can only do your part and if you do; it should result in success per your pre-established criteria. If not then it most likely is a problem with the decision maker and not you or your product or service.
About the Author: Michael Hall is the Founder and CEO of several enterprises and has spent decades selling and managing hundreds of sales and staff personnel.